Introduction: Passive teaching in the form of didactic lecture is the usual mode of disseminating knowledge in dental colleges in India. An innovative way to address the diverse learners learning style at the undergraduate level is much sought after in dental education. Puzzles in the form of crossword and word search are structural, self-learning educational tools that review and reinforce knowledge and concepts acquired during the lecture.
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of crossword and word search puzzles as an active teaching learning method for dental undergraduates.
Materials and methods: This is an open, randomized parallel group interventional study conducted with the final BDS students in the Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry of Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research. Two modules of the “must know” category of the curriculum were selected. The class was divided into two groups (interventional and control) using computerized random generator. Learners in both the groups were exposed to didactic lectures, but the activity of solving the puzzles was undertaken only by the interventional group learners. Questionnaire in the form of MCQ was given at the end of the activity to both the groups, and results were evaluated.
Results: Mann–Whitney U test between interventional (Group I) learners revealed an average mean score of 4.2, 6.1, 9.3, and 6 out of 10 in the post-activity test when compared to 2.9, 6.6, 4.6, and 5.1 of the control (Group II) students and was statistically significant in three of four sessions.
Conclusion: Our study revealed that puzzles can be used as an effective active learning tool to reinforce lecture material for dental undergraduates.
Shah S, Lynch LM, Macias-Moriarity LZ. Crossword puzzles as a tool to enhance learning about anti-ulcer agents. Am J Pharm Educ 2010;74(7):117. DOI: 10.5688/aj7407117.
Abate MA, Meyer-Stout PJ, Stamatakis MK, et al. Development and evaluation of computerized problem-based learning cases emphasizing basic sciences concepts. Am J Pharm Educ 2000;64(1):74–82.
Cardozo LT, Mirinda AS, Moura MJ, et al. Effect of puzzle on the process of student's learning about cardiac physiology. Adv Physiol Educ 2016;40(3):425–431. DOI: 10.1152/advan.00043.2016.
Saxena A, Nesbitt R, Pahwa P, et al. Crossword puzzles: active learning in undergraduate pathology and medical education. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2009;133(9):1457–1462.
Gaikwad N, Tankhiwale S. Crossword puzzles: self-learning tool in pharmacology. Perspect Med Educ 2012;1(5):237–248. DOI: 10.1007/s40037-012-0033-0.
Moore LS, Dettlaff AJ. Using educational games as a form of teaching in social work. Arete 2005;29(1):58–72.
Htwe TT, Sabaridah I, Rajyaguru KM, et al. Patholgy crossword competition: an active and easy way of learning pathology in undergraduate medical education. Singapore Med J 2012;53(2): 121–123.
Shetty SR, Ali-Bayati SAAF, Suneja R, et al. Puzzle based learning in dental education: a new avenue. Dent App 2015;2(4):205–206.
Crossman EK, Crossman SM. The crossword puzzle as a teaching tool. Teaching Psychol 1983;10(2):98–99. DOI: 10.1207/s15328023top1002_10.
Childers CD. Using crossword puzzles as an aid to studying sociological concepts. Teaching Sociol 1996;24(2):231–235. DOI: 10.2307/1318816.
Whisenank TG, Dunphy SM. Accelerating student learning of technology term: the crossword puzzle exercise. J Inf Syst Educ 2010;21(2):141–148.
Franklin S, Peat M, Lewis A. Non-traditional interventions to stimulate discussions: the use of games and puzzles. J Biological Educ 2003;37(2):79–84. DOI: 10.1080/00219266.2003. 9655856.
Bailey CM, Hsu CT, DiCarlo SE. Educational puzzles for understanding gastrointestinal physiology. Am J Physiol 1999;2(1):S1–S18. DOI: 10.1152/advances.1999.276.6.S1.
Chan WP. Assessment of medical students’ knowledge retention in a diagnostic radiology course: lecture attendees vs absentees. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2009;38(3):237–239.
Sethuraman KR. Teaching-learning methods-II. In: Ananthakrishnan A, Sethuraman KR, Kumar S, ed. Medical Education Principles and Practice. Puducherry: Alumini Association of NTTC, JIPMER; 2000. pp. 51–60.
Bergman EM, Prince KJ, Drukker J, et al. How much anatomy is enough? Anat Sci Educ 2008;1(4):184–188. DOI: 10.1002/ase.35.
Kalyani P. Crosswords as a learning tool in anatomy and physiology teaching. Med Teach 2007;29(5):513. DOI: 10.1080/01421590701299306.
Logan JM, Thompson AJ, Marshak DW. Testing to enhance retention in human anatomy. Anat Sci Educ 2011;4(5):243–248. DOI: 10.1002/ase.250.
Karpicke JD, Roediger 3rd HL. The critical importance of retrieval for learning. Science 2008;319(5865):966–968. DOI: 10.1126/science.1152408.
Karpicke JD, Roediger 3rd HL. Is expanding retrieval a superior method for learning text materials? Mem Cognit 2010;38(1):116–124. DOI: 10.3758/MC.38.1.116.